Friday, May 04, 2012

Credit Where Due

Sometimes the Obama administration gets it right, and this is one of those times.

Doctors, nurses and social workers from across the country, 107 in all, were charged in what federal officials in Washington called a "nationwide takedown" of medical professionals accused of fraudulently billing Medicare out of nearly half a billion dollars.

The amount of bogus Medicare claims, totaling about $452 million, was the highest in a single raid in the history of a federal strike force combating rising fraud in the medical industry, according to the Justice Department. Arrests were made in seven major cities. ...

In addition, officials in the Health and Human Services Department suspended or took other administrative actions against 52 medical providers after analyzing billing requests and finding additional "credible allegations of fraud." ...

The Obama administration has stepped up efforts to combat fraud in the Medicare program, which provides health coverage to about 50 million elderly and disabled Americans.

Last year the federal government charged 1,430 people with healthcare fraud, up from 797 in 2008, according to the Health and Human Services Department. The agency also reported revoking the eligibility of more than 60,000 Medicare and Medicaid providers and suppliers and recovering $4.1 billion in fraudulent claims.
[Emphasis added.]

President Obama, Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius, and Attorney General Holder should all be congratulated for their increased efforts in combating fraud in the Medicare program. Obviously, there's still a lot of weeding out that needs to be done, and the work has to be done more quickly, but the increase in funding, in investigative technology, and in manpower is finally in place.

The trick will be to keep that funding in place. Some of the increase came from a section of the ACA, and the Supreme Court might very well rule the entire act unconstitutional, thereby drying up a crucial source of money to pay for the program. If that happens, I hope the administration twists the necessary arms in Congress to find another source and find it quickly. Shutting down the fraud is a key step in restoring some fiscal stability to this important government program.

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